The Broccoli Argument

You know, I listened to the oral arguments yesterday and my brain has been working on this ever since.

I think I figured out a good argument to reasonably controvert the Broccoli argument.

Justice Broccoli
Justice Broccoli

Ok, here goes:

Justice Scalia, in many instances, brought up the argument that the individual mandate is akin to ‘forcing people to buy broccoli.’ If I remember correctly, he said it sort of like this:

“If this law constitutionally allows Congress to create a market called “healthcare” (which would now be subject to the commerce clause), then why could it not then say “Food is a market because everyone eventually needs it, and everyone needs to be healthy. Couldn’t then Congress force people to eat Broccoli?”

That’s not an exact quote but it’s the essence of the argument he put forth.

My counter would be this:
Let’s say I dislike broccoli and don’t want to eat it (Scalia’s aka of the healthy person who doesn’t want to pay for healthcare). The individual mandate is not forcing me to eat the broccoli. LIFE is forcing me to eat the broccoli. Because everyone will one day need healthcare.

The argument in favor of the individual mandate proposes that one day—like everyone else—I will end up needing to eat broccoli, but by avoiding paying for it up front, I’d eat it for FREE and, in doing so, have that cost passed onto everyone else who already pays for the broccoli.

So, the individual mandate instead asks that WHEN I eventually eat broccoli, that I pay for it up front. The cost of broccoli being lower due to its cost spread over a wider pool is the byproduct of this action.